Choosing To Prioritise Family Time

This is a submission from Winn Chew.

The end of the Circuit Breaker period came as a relief to many Singaporeans. After almost 2 months of spending every waking moment with our families, we were finally able to head out and socialise with our friends once again. But Circuit Breaker or not, I will always choose to spend as much time as I can with my family. 

I used to be extremely busy with all sorts of commitments, from school to co-curricular activities and meal appointments. I ended up spending less and less time with my parents. But along the way, I realised that my parents are no longer young. On some days, both of them are alone at home as me and my siblings are out for dinner appointments. So, I decided to commit more time to my parents and my family. Here are some things that I’ve discovered since prioritising family time while trying to balance other commitments:

Super understanding friends are essential

Growing up, I befriended many people who made going to school so much more enjoyable. While I’ve always believed in making friends with everyone I cross paths with, inadvertently, some will come and go. I’m glad to have made a small group of close friends, both from my secondary school days and poly days. These are the people that I know will be there for me in good and bad times.

Since we’ve known each other for a number of years now, we have established a relationship of mutual trust and understanding. 

It wasn’t easy mustering up the courage to tell my friends about my decision to prioritise family time. But to my pleasant surprise, my friends replied that they too are trying to spend more time with their families.

Even if they don’t feel the same way, most of my friends are extremely understanding. They know that I put a high emphasis on spending quality time with my family and loved ones, especially when it comes to important occasions.

Also read:

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Being there on important occasions  

For me, family time is not an issue of time management. It is about commitment and being there for them. It can be something as simple as going home on weekdays for meals with my parents. Or planning my schedule in advance, so I can always be there for important occasions. 

I reserve my time for my family as much as possible, especially when it comes to occasions such as birthdays and weddings. I don’t wish to excuse myself from such events as I believe that they are important to a person’s life, from yearly birthday celebrations to weddings, which only happen once in a lifetime. In fact, I place a high emphasis not just on the time that is spent with my family and loved ones; the quality matters as much as the quantity.

Building trust with your parents

For most of us, our parents are important people who play an extraordinary role in our lives. We go to them for everything from emotional support to asking for advice before buying something. 

I’ve never been an expressive person. I tend to keep my feelings to myself without sharing them with anyone, not even my friends. It has been a constant challenge for my parents to find out how I am feeling.  

But over time, my parents have come to understand that I am different from my siblings, who are more expressive in terms of feelings and emotions. Now, they show their care and concern through messages checking in on my whereabouts and whether I am coming home for meals.

Here’s something worth thinking about as well: our parents know us best but do we know them as well too? Setting aside time to bond with my parents, be it over weekday dinners or working out together, has made me understand them better and made our relationship stronger.

Why I Prioritise Spending Quality Time With My Family Over Other Commitments

As I reflect on the importance of having friends and also quality family time, I remember these 2 quotes: “Time and tide wait for no man” and “Life is too short, do it before it’s too late.” I have been incredibly blessed and fortunate to have met many kind and understanding friends, as well as my family, who give me love and supportboth when it’s needed and as I go about living a life filled with happiness and passion.

While I still have my entire life ahead of me, I will continue to set aside quality time for my family, and try to spend as much time with my friends as I can at the same time. And this trait of mine will remain unquestionable for many more years to come.

This article was first published on 29 October 2020 and last updated on 4 July 2024. 

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